Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Give your kid a camera!

One day last summer my family had a photography contest. Each of us (except Dad--he was the judge) took a series of pictures at a nearby park. When we were done, I loaded the pictures onto the computer and each of us chose two to enter into our friendly little contest. Dad, the judge, chose one of my oldest daughter's close-ups as the winning photograph. But there was no award besides bragging rights.

What was the purpose of that venture?

The primary purpose was simply to have a little fun. It gave us something to do that we had never done before and was a fresh excuse to get the family out of the house and out into the summer sun. But it was also an opportunity for my kids to explore a creative art form--photography--in a relaxed, non-threatening way.

Giving your child a camera and letting them go a little crazy with it (Ah, the wonders of going digital!) is a fabulous way to encourage them to look a little closer at their world. Some kids might experiment with close-ups, like in my daughter's photo of a thistle blossom:

They might try looking at the world at a slightly different angle, like my other daughter's shot of Lake Superior:

Or they might find something of interest in something that most of us wouldn't look twice at, like my son did when he took this photo:

Do you see the bee?

Give your kid a camera, and you just might be surprised at what they see, and how they see it!

Other tips for sharing photography with your kids:

  • Look for photography at art shows and galleries. Talk about the photos with your kids. What do they like or dislike? What, in their view, makes a good photograph?
  • Sort through old photographs at antique stores (or in family albums--ha) and use it as an opportunity to talk about how photography has changed over the years.
  • Talk about the different ways photographers can earn a living.
  • Consider encouraging your child to enter a real photography contest. 
Some photography resources:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Play with your food

Mothers everywhere are utterly against playing with your food.

Really, it's not so wrong, if you lay down a few ground rules.

  1. No wasting food! It really is wrong if your kids are ruining their dinner and making it unpalatable. You shouldn't allow them to mix everything together and then refuse to eat it.
  2. A time-crunch trumps creative expression. If you have to be at a 7:00 meeting, the littles don't have time to play. Life's like that sometimes :)
  3. They have to use what they're given (and you have to use good judgment). Don't give them 12 cups of mashed potatoes for an Edible Everest and expect it to not be wasted.
Now then: seriousness aside, the kidlings can have a lot of fun being dinosaurs that eat broccoli trees, crafting landscapes with gravy rivers, building a veggieman, or making a fruit rainbow. And you'll get a kick out of their cleverness!

Egg yolks and shells!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012